What are the Policy Options Available for Countering Disinformation?

Editor’s Note:  The CipherBrief nails it (by way of The Soufan Center):

“Without sufficient laws and accompanying strategies in place, the dissemination of disinformation, including the use of deepfakes, will continue unabated despite additional resources. The December 2017 U.S. National Security Strategy mentions disinformation just twice, while the European Union developed a strategy, codes of practice, and a comprehensive action plan to combat disinformation back in 2015. The next U.S. National Security Strategy should emphasize that disinformation is a significant threat to the United States. At least two states, Texas and California, have passed laws banning political deepfake videos. While both laws are imperfect, the criminalization of malicious deepfakes is a positive step – one which the federal government should consider. The U.S. government should also consider aggressively using sanctions against foreign-based individuals and entities waging disinformation campaigns. Congress should consider adopting a ‘Sanctions Disinformation Act’ aimed at providing the U.S. Departments of State and Treasury the legal authorities to sanction individuals and organizations engaged in malicious disinformation efforts.”

Oh, and lest you think the USG (or Congress) is willing to invest anything in the effort to counter disinformation, the author nails that too:

“The United States should also consider expanding resources for its counter-disinformation activities. While the State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC), charged with countering disinformation globally, has an expanded proposed budget of $138 million this year, other public diplomacy programs useful for combatting disinformation are being cut drastically, including cuts to public diplomacy programs at a whopping 184.5 million. The Trump administration has proposed deep cuts for the Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Europe, which are critical to explaining U.S. policy in a fact-based way. U.S. government efforts on the whole are not commensurate to the disinformation threat posed by Russia, China, and rogue transnational actors, including violent white supremacists. Congress should significantly increase the GEC’s budget and ensure that organizations like the VOA can continue to effectively provide objective U.S. news to the world, not either/or.

Read it all here – https://www.thecipherbrief.com/column/soufan-center/what-are-the-policy-options-available-for-countering-disinformation

It’s not enough to have an informed public about the efforts of those who want to undermine our democracy with disinformation, we need a motivated government to take action.  In this regard, the Europeans are doing a better job.  The article would be better titled “Does the US Government have the will to take up arms against disinformation and defend its values?”